The night, it has elsewhere been observed, was clear and starry, so that objects upon the common, such as the rude stump that here and there raised its dark low head above the surface, might be dimly seen in the distance. To obviate the danger of discovery by the sentinels, appeared to be the first study of the female; for, when Captain de Haldimar, followed by his servant, had reached the spot on which she stood, she put the forefinger of one hand to her lips, and with the other pointed to his booted foot. A corresponding signal showed that the lightness of the material offered little risk of betrayal. Donellan, however, was made to doff his heavy ammunition shoes; and, with this precaution, they all stole hastily along, under the shadows of the projecting ramparts, until they had gained the extreme rear. Here the female suddenly raised her tall figure from the stooping position in which she, as well as her companions, had performed the dangerous circuit; and, placing her finger once more significantly on her lips, led in the direction of the bomb-proof, unperceived by the sentinels, most of whom, it is probable, had, up to the moment of the alarm subsequently given, been too much overcome by previous watching and excitement to have kept the most vigilant look-out.
Arrived at the skirt of the forest, the little party drew up within the shadow of the ruin, and a short and earnest dialogue ensued, in Indian, between the female and the officer. This was succeeded by a command from the latter to his servant, who, after a momentary but respectful expostulation, which, however, was utterly lost on him to whom it was addressed, proceeded to divest himself of his humble apparel, assuming in exchange the more elegant uniform of his superior. Donellan, who was also of the grenadiers, was remarkable for the resemblance he bore, in figure, to Captain de Haldimar; wanting, it is true, the grace and freedom of movement of the latter, but still presenting an outline which, in an attitude of profound repose, might, as it subsequently did, have set even those who were most intimate with the officer at fault.
“This is well,” observed the female, as the young man proceeded to induct himself in the grey coat of his servant, having previously drawn the glazed hat close over his waving and redundant hair: “if the Saganaw is ready, Oucanasta will go.”
“Sure, and your honour does not mane to lave me behind!” exclaimed the anxious soldier, as his captain now recommended him to stand closely concealed near the ruin until his return. “Who knows what ambuscade the she-divil may not lade your honour into; and thin who will you have to bring you out of it?”
“No, Donellan, it must not be: I first intended it, as you may perceive by my bringing you out; but the expedition on which I am going is of the utmost importance to us all, and too much precaution cannot be taken. I fear no ambuscade, for I can depend on the fidelity of my guide; but the presence of a third person would only embarrass, without assisting me in the least. You must remain behind; the woman insists upon it, and there is no more to be said.”